The International Energy Agency on 11 July hosted a discussion among leading global energy sector figures about technologies that can help to bring about a clean energy future, including hydrogen and nuclear power.
The main speakers at the event were Dan Brouillette, Deputy US Energy Secretary; Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman and CEO of EDF; Hiroshi Oe, Japanese Ambassador to the OECD and Chair of the IEA Governing Board; and Dominique Ristori, Director-General Energy at the European Commission.
The discussion at the IEA’s headquarters in Paris was informed by two recent major reports from the IEA: Nuclear Power in a Clean Energy System and The Future of Hydrogen: Seizing Today’s Opportunities.
At a time of profound change in the global energy sector, countries will require all the tools at their disposal to meet their commitments to tackling emissions and air pollution while maintaining energy security.
“I’d like to thank our speakers for the robust and rewarding conversation,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, who hosted the event. “There is no miracle technology that will solve the daunting environmental challenges the world faces. We need continued innovation across a range of technologies, including renewables, energy efficiency, batteries, carbon capture and more. The IEA sees hydrogen and nuclear power as important parts of clean energy transitions in many countries, but they need help from governments to overcome significant obstacles.”
Nuclear power is by far the largest source of low-carbon electricity in both Europe and North America, but many of their plants are aging. Without effective policies to spur new investment, advanced economies could lose as much as two-thirds of their nuclear capacity in the next 20 years, threatening global climate goals and energy security.
Hydrogen, which is currently enjoying unprecedented momentum, can help tackle various critical energy challenges. It offers ways to decarbonise a range of sectors where it is proving difficult to meaningfully reduce emissions, including long-haul transport, chemicals, and iron and steel. Hydrogen’s ability to store and transport energy could enable renewables to make a greater contribution to the global energy system. But it has experienced false starts in the past and still faces big challenges to scale up infrastructure and bring down costs.
The meeting on 11 July to discuss these important energy issues highlights the IEA’s role as the world’s leading energy authority and its commitment to covering all fuels and all technologies. Guests included Lithunia’s Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas. Lithuania has requested to join the IEA as a member country and the accession process has begun.
IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit
Ministers from countries representing the vast majority of global GDP, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions will take part in the International Energy Agency’s Clean Energy Transitions Summit on Thursday 9 July, gathering around a virtual table to discuss measures to boost economies, create jobs, reduce global emissions and make energy systems more resilient.
Ministers in attendance will represent almost 80% of global energy consumption and carbon emissions, making the Summit the highest-profile energy and climate discussion since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. They will include representatives of the world’s largest energy users: Minister Zhang Jianhua of China, Secretary Dan Brouillette of the United States, Minister R.K. Singh of India, Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans of the European Commission, and Minister Kajiyama Hiroshi of Japan.
Among the high-level participants will be António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Alok Sharma, Secretary of State of the United Kingdom and President of the upcoming COP26, as well as Ministers representing the countries that held the past two COP meetings. They will be joined by the President of the Asian Development Bank, the President of the World Economic Forum (Davos), CEOs from across the energy sector, major investors, and representatives from civil society.
“The IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit represents the key moment in 2020 to build momentum towards international energy and climate goals,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “Rather than letting the Covid-19 crisis undermine our clean energy transitions, we need to take advantage of the massive economic recovery plans to achieve a definitive peak in carbon emissions and put the world on path to sustainable recovery.”
In addition to two plenary sessions, the Summit will consist of high-level panels. These will focus on Accelerating Clean Energy Technology Innovation, co-chaired by Tina Bru, Minister of Petroleum and Energy of Norway, and Juan Carlos Jobet, Minister of Energy of Chile; An Inclusive and Equitable Recovery, co-chaired by Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources of Canada, and Aziz Rabbah, Minister of Energy, Mines and Environment of Morocco; and A Resilient and Sustainable Electricity Sector, co-chaired by Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, and Sontirat Sontijirawong, Minister of Energy of Thailand.
The IEA first announced plans to convene the Clean Energy Transitions Summit during its Ministerial Meeting in December – before Covid-19 became a global health emergency. As the pandemic escalated, the IEA led the calls worldwide for governments to put clean energy at the heart of their economic recovery plans in order to avoid the kind of sharp rebound in emissions that followed the 2008-2009 crisis. The IEA quickly refocused its work to analyse the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the energy world, conducting in-depth assessments across fuels, technologies and emissions trends – and developing policy advice for governments to help them respond.
In the lead-up to the Summit, the IEA brought together numerous Ministers and other international decision-makers from industry, the investment community and civil society to address immediate energy issues arising from the crisis. These Ministerial-level meetings included Economic Recovery through Investments in Clean Energy (April); Mobilizing Investments for Secure and Sustainable Power Systems (May); the Fifth Annual Global Energy Efficiency Conference (June); and the Africa Energy Ministerial on Covid-19 Impacts (June). Ministers from Denmark, the United Kingdom and Senegal, who co-chaired these three events with Dr Birol, will each share the main outcomes of these roundtables.
The high-level discussions at the Summit, which the public can watch live online, will draw on key IEA reports, most notably the Sustainable Recovery Plan and the Special Report on Clean Energy Innovation. Together, those two reports provide both near-term and longer-term strategies for improving economic development and meeting energy and climate goals.
You can watch the sessions on our livestreams here, and follow the conversation around the event on social media via the hashtag #IEASummit.
The Gambia: World Bank to Strengthen Access to Energy and Water
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a $43 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA)* for The Gambia’s Electricity Restoration and Modernisation Project (GERMP). The additional financing was made available through reallocation of IDA18 balance, thus augmenting the Banks initial funding envelope for The Gambia by 20 percent.
The people of The Gambia face many challenges in terms of access to electricity and water. Nearly 50% have still no access to electricity, and in urban areas, about 69 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water. Further, the quality of services is weak due to frequent service outages, with some neighbourhoods not receiving water for days, weeks or even months at a time. While the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) has made significant improvements in its operational and financial performance in recent years, the utility has yet to achieve financial viability. Customers still face erratic supply of water and electricity, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This support will build on the ongoing efforts of the government to strengthen the electricity and water sectors, and further boost the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic through communications and targeted investments including hand washing facilities in the Greater Banjul Area,” said Elene Imnadze, World Bank Resident Representative.
The additional financing will further strengthen NAWEC’s transmission and distribution network, provide additional support to transform NAWEC into an efficient and credit-worthy utility, and expand the scope of the project to the water sector. Specifically, more than 1.6 million people will have gained or improved access to electricity; 17 km of transmission lines will be constructed or rehabilitated; 20 grid-connected photovoltaic system with storage will be installed; 20,000 water meters will be installed or replaced; and three water storage tanks will be repaired.
“This additional grant comes at an important moment in the reform process underway. We have already seen significant improvements in NAWEC’s performance. Additional resources will help to solidify these gains,” said Chris Trimble, Task Team Leader and Senior Energy Specialist, World Bank.
ADB Approves $200 Million Loan to Modernize Power Supply, Distribution System in Nepal
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $200 million concessional loan to improve power supply and distribution systems in Nepal.
Nepal has made significant progress in electricity supply after years of chronic power shortages. However, its power transmission and distribution systems need further strengthening to increase network capacity, improve quality and reliability, and remove delays between generation hubs and load centers.
The project will finance, among others, the reinforcement and modernization of the power supply system in Kathmandu Valley, Bharatpur metropolitan area of Chitwan district in Bagmati Province and Pokhara of Kaski district in Gandaki Province, where supply interruptions are frequent and prolonged. The project also aims to support Province 2, where the quality of electricity supply is poor and about 20% of households are still without access to the national grid.
“The project will help sustain Nepal’s improved electricity supply momentum over the past two years. This will facilitate meeting future demand from commercial and industrial activities as well as from communities, particularly women, who can now benefit from electricity-based enterprises and focus on productive economic and social activities,” said ADB Principal Energy Specialist Jiwan Acharya. “It is also very timely because the project will create employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled labor during the construction phase as the country adopts measures to mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.”
Complementing ADB’s loan, the Government of Norway is providing a $35 million cofinancing grant for the installation and upgrading of power distribution networks in Province 2 and various substations to evacuate hydropower in the country. In addition, it is providing a $5 million technical assistance grant for capacity development of the Nepal Electricity Authority to ensure that gender equality and social inclusion are strengthened, and new technologies are used to make electricity infrastructure resilient.
The project is aligned with the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation program on intraregional power trade through cross-border power exchange. The upgrading of substations in Khimti, Barhabise, and Lapsiphedi to 400 kilovolts will facilitate cross-border power exchange with India.
ADB and other development partners have been engaged in Nepal’s power system reform efforts, including the approval of the Nepal Electricity Regulatory Commission Act of 2017, which created the Electricity Regulatory Commission as an independent regulatory body with respect to tariff-setting and consumer protection.
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